Start & SitSeptember 4, 2013

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Week 1: Avoiding Unknowns - 9 comments

By R.J. White

Football season is back, and with it is the Cafe’s Start/Sit article for Week 1. We went over a few tough Start/Sit decisions in Week 1 of the Cafe Pod, but you’ll find my rankings for all players who are anticipated to be fantasy relevant in leagues below.

Update: Still having trouble with the Standard/PPR distinction, so be sure you flip those rankings when you consider start/sit options (i.e., Ridley should be No. 3 on Standard RB rankings, No. 6 in PPR rankings).

Have gameday lineup questions? Join us in the Cafe chat room before kickoff.

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros


Start: Eli Manning at DAL. The Cowboys’ secondary isn’t one that’s going to cause much fear in the hearts of quarterbacks, and the talented pass rushers on the Cowboys will have to adjust to the role of 4-3 end. If they don’t excel from the end position immediately, Manning could have a field day.

Sit: Michael Vick at WAS. O.K. Chip Kelly, it’s time to see what your offense can do. Is anyone really confident about what we can expect from the former Oregon coach in his first game? I’m not. There is no amount of pass attempts that Vick could have that would surprise me; it could be five, it could be 50. Until we get a better read on this offense, I’m hesitant to start Vick, especially against a defense that played extremely well in the second half of last season.


Start: Daryl Richardson vs. ARI. Even though Richardson’s been named the starter, we don’t really know how snap counts are going to shake out between him and Isaiah Pead this season. We do know that Richardson should see the bulk of the work in Week 1 though, since Pead is unavailable due to suspension. With the Rams being favored in this game, Richardson could rack up 20-25 carries and settle in as a quality RB2.

Sit: Chris Ivory vs. TB. Ivory drew some buzz early in the drafting season due to his new location, but the excitement wore off once people considered just how bad this Jets offense is. Unknown quantity Geno Smith lines up at quarterback, and even though there’s a chance his ability to not be Mark Sanchez could lift this offense out of the doldrums, it’s a case of having to see it before relying on any Jets as fantasy starters. Take a wait and see approach with Ivory, especially until we can determine how the playing time will be split.


Start: Greg Jennings at DET. While Christian Ponder is not a quarterback who breeds confidence, Jennings has a very nice matchup against the Lions in his first game with the Vikings. Detroit brought back Chris Houston and drafted Darius Slay, but the secondary is still a work in progress. Furthermore, anything the Lions do on defense should be geared to stopping Adrian Peterson. Jennings could benefit from some favorable one-on-one matchups if the Vikings move him around the field, and that should lead to a solid game.

Sit: Tavon Austin vs. ARI. Austin was drafted pretty in fantasy leagues thanks to his top-ten draft status in the NFL’s rookie draft and his ability to make plays from many different spots on the field. However, the Rams do have a few other quality options to catch passes, and without any regular-season footage to analyze, we don’t know exactly what the Rams are going to do with Austin out of the gate. Like with Vick and Ivory above, benching Austin in Week 1 is just about playing it safe until we have some actual data to inform our opinions of those players.


Start: Zach Sudfeld at BUF. One guy with whom I won’t play it safe is Sudfeld, who should serve as the team’s No. 1 tight-end and potentially its top red-zone receiving threat until Rob Gronkowski is healthy. With Tom Brady at the helm, this offense should have no problem getting to the red zone. Sudfeld is one of the top candidates to score multiple TDs at the tight end position, which makes him our best option out of the fringe TE1s.

Sit: Jermaine Gresham at CHI. Gresham was a solid low-level fantasy tight end last year, but he wasn’t dynamic enough in the passing game to prevent the Bengals from spending their first-round pick on Tyler Eifert. While the two tight ends will likely line up on the field together a respectable amount of time, I see Eifert developing into the second option in the passing game and Gresham fading to fantasy obscurity. I wouldn’t own him in any leagues, and I certainly wouldn’t start him until I develop confidence that Eifert’s presence won’t kill his value.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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9 Responses to “Week 1: Avoiding Unknowns”

  1. User avatar joejlitz says:

    Thanks! I look forward to checking these every week. Looks like Amendola fell off, though.

  2. jeffmc80 says:

    I always look forward to this article; thanks for posting.
    I have a “General Rule of Thumb” question (that, of course, there isn’t a concrete answer for, but I always enjoy reading your thoughts):

    When YOU are setting YOUR lineup, do you go by your RANKINGS or by your START/SIT recommendations?

    For instance, I have 2 guys on your START list that are listed 6-8 spots behind the guy I would normally start (ex: I would play Stevan Ridley at FLEX, but I have Daryl Richardson on the bench…) Just curious as to how aggressively you would try to work in your “Start” recommendations…

  3. User avatar daullaz says:

    No, I go by the rankings. I’d definitely start Ridley over Richardson this week.

    I try to identify borderline cases who people might not be starting (like Richardson) that I think could have good games, but I certainly don’t think you should start them over lock starters like Ridley. Though I’m actually convinced my rankings got lost somewhere in the ether, because I know I had Ridley much higher… in fact, I’m looking at my standard rankings on FP and I have Ridley third at RB.

    I tried re-publishing my rankings .. we’ll see if it gives you the proper update.

  4. User avatar daullaz says:

    Also, it looks like PPR and Standard are being switched in this table, and I’m not even sure these are the rankings I worked on a few days ago. I may have to redo everything then post as a standard table tomorrow, and hopefully the FP code will work better next week.

  5. jfella22 says:

    excited for a new season. I try not to mix things up too much, but had a quick question at FLEX. . . I was considering Vereen over Nelson considering the bills match up that you seem to like and the fact that Nelson is coming off injury and has a difficult matchup, but it seems that you had the two very far apart. . . Is my thinking that flawed?

  6. User avatar Ted Spencer says:

    Thanks R.J!

  7. User avatar daullaz says:

    @jfella22: I’d go ahead and disregard the table above for now. I’d actually recommend going to Fantasy Pros and typing those two names in the Who Do I Start? tool to see the Expert Consensus. Vereen seems like a pretty great matchup, would be hard for me to bench personally.

  8. fiestyvermin says:

    I belong to a yahoo fantasy and have Cary Williams as one of my CB’s by his name yahoo has a O but I can find ZERO information on whether he is playing or not. I do have Jonathan Banks with Tampa as a number 3 but prefer Williams as he is a proven talent. Can someone please tell me if Cary Williams is playing or not? Thanks

  9. User avatar daullaz says:

    @fiestyvermin: Williams should be good to go. Last official update I can get on him is that his hamstring was injured in early August, but he has been practicing since then, as he was involved in a fight with Riley Cooper during practice a few days ago. I’d say don’t let the injury play into your thinking at all — if you want to start him, start him. I do think Banks is going to see an enormous amount of passes on a weekly basis with teams staying away from Darrelle Revis, so he’s also a solid starter in my opinion.


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